When I was a kid, I feared sleep. As twilight came, it brought me nothing but dread. And the summers were the worst. The burning sunset was to me like it was to Ash in Evil Dead, as he realized he wouldn’t escape the haunted woods before night.

But I was also eight, so you’d have to forgive me for the drama. I’d been alone with my brother and his friends in our summer house, it had been close to midnight and they’d been watching a horror movie and I’d been there, too. It wasn’t a movie for kids. Hardly even for teenagers, as it were. So I got scared and I all could see after that when the evening came, was werewolves and vampires outside my window, biding their time to enter my dreams.

My parents told me to go to sleep, nothing bad’s gonna happen, it’ll be okay in the morning. Me, I couldn’t take their advice, since I didn’t share their conviction that there’d even be a morning. Sleep for me was a curse, something that I had to endure and hope I’d make it to another day.

But this, also, passed. I grew older. I forgot about these things and slept like the baby I had once been.

Then, I moved to a house in the woods. Although the choice was mine, the circumstances made it difficult not to. I lived there with my girlfriend until she went away and I was alone.

And then, the darkness came. And I remembered.

And for a good five weeks, I had the worst nights of my life. I was eight again and the ghosts came back to circle my house. They never entered, though I’m sure they tried. I had dreams where they knocked on the door and tapped on my windows (which was kind of true, because when the wind was strong, the trees outside touched the walls with a scratching sound) and every night was worse than the last.

I forced myself to stay up and watch bad tv, just because I’d rather face the weariness of the day after, than the angst of trying to fall asleep.

When my girlfriend came back from her travels, she said: “This must’ve been great for you. You’ve found your own paths and places now. It’s not just my town anymore. It’s yours now, as well.”

About a year later, we left this place and moved back to our hometown. I never told her about my weeks in the woods. If I did, maybe the ghosts would come back.

But I’m telling you now. And tonight, when I turn the lights off, we’ll see what happens. Wish me luck.

My love affair with sleep